Views

The London Festival of Architecture has always proved to be a platform for vigorous debate – both about our theme and about wider issues affecting London. On our Views Pages we give space to a range of contributors including industry leaders, curators, academics, politicians and other less-heard voices to express their views and ideas. These are their opinions and not necessarily those of the Festival. We hope you find them in equal parts inspiring and challenging.

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City in Pink

Catching sight of LFA pink while walking through the city is enchanting. I like to think of members of the public who aren’t engaged with the festival stumbling across an installation or fortuitously wandering into a party. London is full of unexpected moments of inspiration and opportunity, it is also chaotic and at times unwelcoming. This is why this year’s broad theme of ‘identity’ resonates well, it delivers a far-reaching programme of events exploring the meaning of architectural, cultural and community identity. And perhaps those who accidentally find themselves in middle of a festival project will identify with the city differently, or at the very least feel welcome.

Requiem for Cross Bonesand St Pauls Gateway  grabbed my attention, both are set to give passers-by unique experience in the city.

I will take a peek at Battersea Power Station’s regeneration exhibition. View Pictures are documenting the changing identity of this iconic building. It seems bizarre to visit a partial construction site to see photos of a construction site, but I find these spaces endlessly fascinating and the sight of a numbered building core curiously pleasing.

The Future of London’s Built Environment Report Launchlooks interesting. The Building Centre led an ideas competition and exhibition on the night time economy with Amy Lamé for LFA 2017, so it will be great to see how the conversation has progressed.

Peter Barber rightly said at one of our recent events that the country should be marching in outrage against government housing policy. My marching boots are ready, but in the meantime I’m looking for a bit of hope from Designing for Public Good.an event on 12 June exploring creative interventions for improved public spaces and buildings. On the same evening is Regeneration and good growth, an event that promises a lively debate on who benefits from regeneration. Also on the 12this an event on data centres, join Tom Ravenscroft of Dezeen who will explore the architectural identity of these secretive mega-sheds – if you’re not already fascinated by data centres you should be, they’re alarmingly vital.

Well worth a mention is D-Construction, a hip-hop performance on identity and boarders. And a visit the Serpentine to see the work of Frida Escobedo during LFA2018 is a must, I think it’s the law.

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City of Culture

This year’s London Festival of Architecture programme raises a host of questions surrounding the identity of our capital and of London’s status as a global city of culture. How do we read a city? What does a post-industrial city look like? Who uses it, and what for?

The identity of our public space shapes the way we live and work, and in turn is one of the most influential factors in affecting areas as diverse as architecture, art, economics and politics. Earlier this year, London Major Sadiq Khan published the Culture Strategy, a new report which aims to reconsider how we harness and implement a creative identity for London. It provides a roadmap into creating a ‘cultural infrastructure’, helping boroughs better plan for culture and to nurture the development of grassroots and community projects throughout the city. Creativity means big business, but how can we place it at the heart of our city’s identity?

LFA’s programme provides a platform to collectively rethink and understand how our city moves and to question London’s architectural identity. I’ll be attending a range of events and activities to explore the current areas of debate throughout the city.

This year WilkinsonEyre is an LFA Patron; I’m looking forward to representing the practice at The Great Architectural Bake Off… stay tuned to see what our team cooks up! Later in the month I’ll be attending Living above the Shop, a talk exploring the changing nature of the urban typology, considering the architecture of cultural space at Art Galleries in Reclaimed or Listed Buildings and questioning the global landscape of London at Why Design in the 21st Century. Finally, I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts on London’s Thames: The River that Shaped a City, an architectural river boat tour where WilkinsonEyre director, Sebastien Ricard will join the panel to discuss our work on the refurbishment of Battersea Power Station and its connection to the river.

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Rob Fiehn

It seems like only a few months since we last enjoyed giant sandcastles, pop-up choirs, secret gigs and one volcano jacuzzi but the London Festival of Architecture is back. The Memory theme in 2017 gave us the chance to look back and explore the heritage of our city and what buildings, people and places have done to contribute to it. Now we get the chance to think about who we are and how much we impose that identity onto the built environment, either consciously or subconsciously. In our current political upheaval, the issue of identity in London is even more relevant as there are very few urban centres that are made up of such a melting pot of different cultures and communities. I’m proud to say that this year I’m working on an installation that typifies a series of built forms that can be seen across the roofscape of Venice. The Ombra Altana is based on a timber frame that was originally built from leftover scaffold to dry clothes but became a handy al fresco dining spot high above the canals. By placing this outside an Italian restaurant in Hackney, the architects – Fourthspace and The Office for Crafted Architecture – will examine how restaurants can transpose the identity of one place onto another and therefore contribute to the greater whole.

The Altana has me intrigued about what other installations people have cooked up across the capital. In particular, I’m looking forward to exploring the Skip Gallery by Richard Woods in Hoxton Square that will highlight local gentrification; the Treehouse at Battersea Power Station by Studio Kyson, which will offer an abstracted version of the traditional concept; and Interpreted Identities, a series of follies inspired by extraordinary female figures – past or present.

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Welcome to our Blog

Welcome to this year’s LFA Blog. We’ve got a huge programme of over 450 events this June by a record 260 organisations. It’s virtually impossible to see everything in the festival (trust us we’ve tried) but never fear, our team of bloggers will be visiting many of this year’s events and writing up their thoughts and perspectives.

Our theme for this year’s festival is ‘identity’. Events selected as part of this year’s core programme were chosen by our Curation Panel for their particularly interesting or novel ways of exploring  theme.  Our wider fringe programme also has some fantastic architectural events which explore architecture and London more broadly.

As for me, I’m particularly interested in events that explore how the identity of an architecture practice is shaped by it’s founders and how that identity carries on long after the founders have retired or moved on.

The identity of London’s architectural community has been vasty improved the the breath of architectural talent from all around the world that have chosen to call London home. So I’m really looking forward to this short film Émigré Architect by Stirling Prize-winning practice dRMM architects looking at the contribution of the emigre architect.